Six Christmas songs that are utterly depressing

WHACKING on a Yuletide playlist seems like fun, but before you know it you’re listening to lyrics about war, suffering and death. Here are the gloomiest:

Do they Know it’s Christmas? 

Band Aid raised a lot of money for a good cause, but this is a miserable song that features Bono hysterically screaming ‘well tonight thank god it’s them, instead of you’. That seems to be the kind of attitude that got us into a state of global inequality in the first place.

Stop the Cavalry

With all the fun of those ‘dub-a-dub-dum’s, it’s easy to forget that this one is about a First World War soldier writing to his girlfriend, who’s… in a nuclear fallout zone? Metaphorical eternal unknown soldiers engaged in endless war can kill the Christmas vibe a bit.

Little Drummer Boy

This one has a surfeit of entertaining ‘pa-rum-pum-pum-pum’s, but that’s hiding a song about a little boy so poor he has nothing to give the baby Jesus but his drumming. Not only is that pretty bleak, you’ll struggle to think of a worse birthday present for a baby than a small child with a drum kit. Mary would have kicked off.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Not only is he indirectly responsible for the celebrity Imagine video, Lennon is also to blame for that wonderfully festive lyric ‘Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear’. No one was associating Christmas with fear until you kept bringing it up, John.

Fairytale of New York

It’s not just the depressing story of how the passage of time turns infatuation into bitterness, bickering and alcohol abuse. It’s also the fact that these ungrateful pricks are able to prance around in a bar on Christmas Eve without the slightest worry about Covid. They don’t know how good they have it.

Walking in the Air

Set to an already un-jolly tune, the melancholy voice of a tiny Aled Jones instantly causes flashbacks to the childhood trauma of watching a magical Snowman melt and die every Christmas Day for years. Plus it’s impossible to dance to.

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The Cerne Abbas Giant and five other things so mental they can only be British

WHEN you look around the British Isles some things are just so bloody weird they could only have happened here. Take these, for example:

The Scotch egg

Any number of dubious culinary treats could be mentioned – Marmite, chip butties, jelly and ice cream, or tripe with vinegar. But for sheer British oddness it has to be an egg, covered in sausage and breadcrumbs then deep fried. First made in 1738, which sounds about right, because people died much earlier then, probably due to the toll Scotch eggs took on their bodies.

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Professional weirdo who should only exist in cartoon form. Calling his sixth child Sixtus, using the word ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ in conversation and saying he was ‘too clever to have died in Grenfell’ are some of his many likeable traits. The weirdest thing is that the whole Victorian schtick is horribly fake. At least it’s panto season.

The Cerne Abbas Giant

While we’re on the topic of colossal penises – what’s more random than a 55m chalk man threatening you with a large club and a prominent erection? The giant dominates a Dorset hillside where people take photos as if it’s the Taj Mahal. In a confusingly British way it dates from the 10th century or maybe the 17th. What we do know is it sets unrealistic body standards for men.


A theme park where ‘children and adults alike can ride, drive and operate REAL diggers, dumpers and other full-size construction machinery.’ You can keep your Disneyland and stuff your Universal Studios, Britain’s contribution to the crowded theme park market is a place with signs reading: ‘You must be this tall to ride the Komatsu PC26 mini digger’. 

Channel 4’s Naked Attraction

We’ve come a long way since Lord Reith said television should educate, inform and entertain. Arguably this British format does all three. It just happens to do so while looking like a trial for a sex crime on a spaceship. 

Cheese rolling

Wheel of cheese. Check. Massive f**k-off hill. Check. Scores of nutters. Check. The tradition of cheese rolling is brutal and often comes up against another undeniably British area of excellence: health and safety. But there are still dozens of people risking severe injury to win a prize money definitely could buy – some cheese.